USA Today wrote: “Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI.”
I thought that could not be correct since it sounded like a lot of killings. The article did not give a reference to its source. I Googled the language in quotes and ended up finding many references to it but they either cited the initial USA Today article or just made the bold statement as if it is an accepted fact. I was getting nowhere.
It seemed it was becoming one that was being repeated more and more. I saw that today it was relied upon by Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson. He too only cited the USA article.
I felt a need to track it down. I finally found this for the period 2003 to 2009 which incorporates 4 of the 7 years of the time period set out in the USA Today article which I assume is 2006 to 2012. The article is entitled: “Arrest-Related Deaths,2003-2009 – Statistical Tables” and is put out by the Department of Justice.
Now I felt I could verify the figure or show it was false. Over this seven (7) year period of that study (which I assume would not differ much from the period put out by USA Today since four (4) of the years correlate) there were 4,813 deaths of which 2,931 were classified as homicide by law enforcement. The highest amount of such homicides was in 497 in 2009, the least was 375 in 2004. The yearly average is 418.
The racial makeup of those killed is white 41.7%. black 31.7%, Hispanic 20.3%, and other/unknown 6.4%.
It would appear that on average each year cops kill 174 whites, 132 blacks, and 85 Hispanics a week. What I have been unable to find is the race of the police officer who did the shooting. I believe most cops are white so I’ll not quibble with that statement that white cops are shooting blacks.
The idea that cops kill such a large number of people is striking. We never think of that many killings happening in the United States. I’ve posted here previously that there were too many without realizing how many actually were happening.
Almost 15 whites, 11 blacks and 7 blacks are killed every month by cops. I attributed it to too many cops growing up with video games. I hoped that there would be better training.
I went into the figures a little more. The population of the USA is 63.7% non-Hispanic White; 12.2% non-Hispanic Black; and 16.9% Hispanic. Assuming 300 million people, this would figure out to 190 million whites; 37 million blacks; and 51 million Hispanics.
Of the 37 million blacks the cops kill 132 or 1 for every 280,300 people. If the cops killed Hispanics at the same rate they would kill 182 Hispanics, 97 more than they do.
If the cops killed white Americans at the same rate as blacks, they would be killing 678 whites a year a whopping 500 more than are now being killed. In plain and simple language, the blacks are being killed by cops at a rate of more than five times that of whites.
I’m aware of the different statistical showings when it comes to the involvement in blacks and whites in crime and other cultural disparities. These would indicate to me that the confrontations between blacks and cops are more likely to occur than those of white. But to think of the great disparity in killings, that surely gives credence to a major problem in this country. Why have we been missing it for so long?